Sailing to Purgatory
The final scene in this true adventure shocked the author, too.

‘The reader will be enthralled as Paul, former Fleet Street journalist turned professional yachtmaster, takes us along on his ‘swallowing the anchor’ voyage, his retirement from the sea.

'This self-confessed newish ancient mariner … has spent almost a lifetime sailing solo, as both an ocean going competitive yachtsman, as a DoT Commercial Yachtmaster, and during his circumnavigation to become a singlehanded Cape Horner ... Sailing to Purgatory has all the roller coaster elements of a heart stopping adventure — drama on the high seas, observing life ... undersea volcanoes, a love interest, and waves high enough to scare the pants off most of us.’ - Brenda Vowden, journalist, avid reader






Home from the outside ... St Helenans,
'Saints', round their South Atlantic
island in Midshipman,
en route for Stockholm.


















Enterprising forebears ... The house Paul's father designed, and the car his paternal grandfather designed and built.














Running repairs ... crewman Declan checks rig fittings on the superyacht, Midshipman, which Paul sailed from the Cape to Sweden.


















Sail power ... Gavin's Howe's beautiful yacht in the Mediterranean.



















Rescue in the Southern Ocean ... Yachting World's international edition this month features Paul and Captain Fantastic in its Great Seamanship series.


















Pat and Gerry Adamson, two wonderful supporters get Spirit of Pentax ready for her circumnavigation.















Home sweet home ... St Helena islanders, after a voyage round their island home on the superyacht, Midshipman.


















Baptism of a Cape Horner ... Lady Chichester names Spirit of Pentax in a ceremony at Brighton Marina.
















Homeward Bound 2 is prepared for her attempt on the longest open boat record.


















Tri trials ... testing Paul's entry in the singlehanded race across the Atlantic are great friends Ron Pell, Jerry Freeman plus a keen helper.


















Cover up ... Bob Abrahams works on cover ideas for Sailing to Purgatory.

















Stocking up for 18 months ... Last minute farewells before Spirit of Pentax and Paul left on the long route to become Cape Horners.
















Death of a racer ... Baltic Wind flounders after running into a container in the South Atlantic. Paul and a lady shipmate spent eight worrying days in a liferaft.

If you've left your wordly side and an angel offers you the chance to return to life, whatever you do, don't come back female.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Every woman is the victim ... Menopause is not selective. Cruelly, all women will experience it. Many thanks to Mehrdad Haghighi and Unsplash and the models for the image.
If ever there were a hard done by section of our species, it's the female gender, which only an hour or so ago, I had confirmed at about 40,000 hysterical decibels.

For women, girls, we should have an annual international females' day where every female of whatever age is awarded a handsome present, say five thousand smackeroos or so, not that even that would be sufficient compensation.

My concern here is over menopause, though the gender suffers much else besides. However, a woman in the grip of the change of life is what I have just witnessed – almost an hour of it.

Irritability is a demeaning word, laughably imprecise when what I actually feel is a bright, ascendant rage. - Sarah Manguso
I was invited to visit a friend for a social afternoon tea.

I knew the host some years ago. What a pleasant, calm, generous, hospitable, and very attractive soul she was.

Our host's in her late forties now. We were chatting and sipping tea when she suddenly presented the worst example of menopause suffering I have ever seen.

Tearing off her clothes

She leaped up from the sofa and began tearing off her clothes.

She cried out that she was 'on fire'. Moments later, she was physically shivering from 'the cold'. The clothes were hastily returned.

She launched into a speech filled with criticism, almost hate – government, neighbours, the council, medical services … you name it.

Then the vitriol gave way suddenly with a remarkable change to the opposite.

We learned of her daughter's impressive school report, of the child's helpful nature … and for some minutes this sudden switch from wild criticism to homely praise flowed.

Our host was, is, a victim of menopause. Her body is, well, being de-sexed and she to an agonised, tormented being.

It was a tragic scene, and worse because no-one could offer some medicine that might help. It seems there are no miracle cures, that science has found nothing to help.

And yet, astoundingly, every female human is suffering from, or willsuffer from, or has suffered the menopause torture.

Fortunately, most don't suffer quite as badly as this lady.

Menopausal rage

Nature offers no quick change. It can last for a year, and it might continue for more years until, well, the desexing is completed.

The latest online version of New Yorker magazine, once a print favourite, carries a piece by Sarah Manguso, ' Where are all the books about menopause?'

She writes, 'Menopausal rage is more than a symptom of disappointment at not being fertile or conventionally attractive or socially powerful—although it may be those things, too.

'It is brought on by the waning of estrogen, which in turn reduces serotonin production.

'Serotonin is believed to be the mood regulator whose sudden absence causes the anger … Irritability is a demeaning word, laughably imprecise when what I actually feel is a bright, ascendant rage.'

It seems astonishing that modern mankind has no answer for Nature's gross cruelty and madness. However, today's experience reminded me very guiltily of other gross examples of Nature's cruelty of our fairer gender.

Giving birth

Seen a new teen suffering her first period? Watched as I have the process of a woman giving birth to your baby?

Today's very worrying experience left me thanking Nature for my gender.

If there might be a hereafter and we are offered the chance to return, I know my reaction: No, no, no, definitely not if it means I must be female.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory

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